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John Hancock Collection


Held at: Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division [Contact Us]

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Hancock, John, 1737-1793

John Hancock, American patriot and statesman, has become synonymous with American independence. Born on January 23, 1737, in Braintree, Mass., he was educated at Harvard College (now Harvard University). In 1766 he was elected to the Massachusetts legislature, and from 1775 to 1780 Hancock was a member of the Continental Congress, serving as a presiding officer. By virtue of this office, he was the first to sign the Declaration of Independence, which he did boldly in large strokes. He was the first governor of the state of Massachusetts, holding that office from 1780 to 1785 and from 1789 until his death.

The collection consists of selected correspondence and documents of John Hancock. A brief letter to George Washington, dated 27 August 1776, accompanied "Resolves of Congress" for the general's attention. A signed letter, dated 20 November 1776 and addressed to Governor William Livingston of New Jersey, concerns the necessity of furnishing troops for the new army. In addition, there are two other documents Hancock signed as president of the Continental Congress--an appointment (16 January 1777) of Edward White as an ensign in a foot regiment commanded by Col. John Patton and an appointment (25 September 1777) of Jeremiah Tolbert as major of the Sixth Pennsylvania Regiment--and a payment voucher (1 December 1781) he signed as governor of Massachusetts.

The collection was formed as a result of a Departmental practice of combining into one collection material of various accessions relating to a particular person, family, or subject.

The 25 September 1777 document was a gift of William B. Gilmore, Princeton Class of 1902, in 1959.

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Folder inventory added by Nicholas Williams '2015 in 2012.

No appraisal information is available.

Manuscripts Division
Finding Aid Date
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Collection Inventory

Letter to Governor William Livingston About Necessity of Furnishing Troops for the New American Army, 20 November 1776. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Letter to George Morgan Appointing Him as Agent of Indian Affairs (facsimile), 10 April 1776. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Letter for Appointment of Edward White in a Regiment and Letter to George Washington, 1776-1777. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Document Signed by John Hancock Appointing Jeremiah Tolbert to Major of the 6th Pennsylvania Regiment, 25 September 1777. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Letter to Henry Gardner: Order to Pay Isaac Peirce, 1 December 1781. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

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